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Legislative Committee To Hear Swift Creek Petition For Incorporation

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — The debate over whether the community of Swift Creek should be incorporated continues Wednesday afternoon before lawmakers.

Some residents said they would gain more political power if their community becomes a town. Others believe it will only bring higher taxes with little to show for it.

Two groups with two different ideas of what Swift Creek's future should be will be at the General Assembly.

One group will demonstrate with placards and signs outside and then go before a committee of the Legislature that will hear its request to make Swift Creek a town. The other group will wait quietly and speak only when its time to talk to the lawmakers.

Tom Vass has lived in the Swift Creek community near Lake Wheeler for some 20 years. He has been fighting just as long to see Swift Creek incorporated, making it a town.

"Citizens in our representative democracy should have the right to control their local units of government and have decision-making power over what happens to them. So from a political point of view we don't have that authority," he said.

Swift Creek is surrounded by the cities of Raleigh, Apex and Garner and the town of Cary.

Vass said he is fighting primarily to prevent Swift Creek's neighbors from doing the kind of development that would damage the watershed.

"If you pave over the surface of the Earth, your ground water doesn't recharge, and if you don't take care of that, the people that are out here on wells and septic lines, or what have you, their wells get contaminated," Vass said.

George Gasperson has lived in Swift Creek for almost half a century. He does not want to see the community become a town.

"The people proposing this thing want to create a bureaucracy that promises nothing," he said. "There's no free lunch. These folks will enjoy the business of building a town hall and immediately everything will go over budget and they'll have to pass a tax just to get a town hall built."

Gasperson said provisions are already in place to protect the watershed.

"The legislators created a protection for that and made this voluntary, but that said, these five towns would not intrude into this area," he said.

In a referendum in 2000, 58 percent of Swift Creek residents voted in favor of incorporation.However, the decision will be up to state legislators.

The joint legislative commission on municipal incorporations will hear the petition Wednesday. The petition has to go through several more steps before a final decision is made.


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